THE POWER OF DIAPOSRA AND ITS ROLE IN CULTURAL RECOVERY
We see the space of diaspora as both fraught with pain and filled with possibility.
Although diaspora for many of us is defined by violent rupture from ‘home’ (willed or unwilled, fled or forced), it is also the space where the notion of ‘home’ is questioned, meditated upon, re-evaluated, re-visioned and perhaps returned to it’s most balanced essence.
Diaspora can be dangerously romanticized:
- By the capitalist: believed to be a more progressive evolution into a homogenized, industrial, capitalist (White) “West”
- By the liberal: seen solely as a place of liberation from outdated notions of home and cultural practice into a more “advanced” way of life
We are not interested in this kind of romanticization.
In fact, we see and define Diaspora as: the space in-between. The liminal, creative space (not necessarily geo-politically defined) but formed through an active interlinking of people that choose (or are lead or even forced) to meet in the space in-between. People that embody and espouse different positions by virtue of having different socio-geo-political experiences and perspectives, YET are connected to each other by shared story and culturally lived experience (or hystory, from the root hysteria / the womb / the source). And we acknowledge that this definition is expansive enough to allow for many iterations of diaspora.
We believe that indigenous cultural recovery is just as painful and challenging as it is rewarding. It involves reckoning with loss, building, maintaining or re-evaluating difficult relationships, heated interpersonal debates around power and privilege, the awareness of latent needs, desires and frustrations brought about by colonial violence. But we know that nothing worth recovering will come easy.
We believe that establishing a way to walk with indigenous recovery in diaspora is at the heart of Baladé Black’s mission. And we see the space of Diaspora (as we have defined it) to be a place of great opportunity for the recovery of a just and balanced ‘home.’
WHY CHIEF LUISAH TEISH?
Chief Teish’s groundbreaking book Jambalaya (and her life journey of indigenous cultural recovery) is an incredible case study and testament to the possibilities of re-envisioning a more just and balanced home. It pulls from spaces of inherited culture, combined with newly acquired culture to create a personally specific and effective way of relating to the worlds we live and breath in.